The 5 Best Bass Fishing Rigs for Beginners

Fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air, and bass fishing in particular is a very popular reason to get out of the house …

Fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air, and bass fishing in particular is a very popular reason to get out of the house and onto the lake. 

However, for beginners just learning the bass fishing basics, deciding on a bass fishing rig can be a daunting task, especially with so much bass fishing gear on the market.

This article will take a closer look at five bass fishing rigs which are a great way to get your feet wet on your next bass fishing adventure.

The Top 5 Rigs for Bass Fishing Beginners

When it comes to bass fishing rigs for beginners, we wanted to focus on fishing rigs that were not only easy to tie and set up, but also easy to cast.

We also tried to find fishing rigs that are versatile enough to be fished in a variety of locations, as well as those that were forgiving enough to still provide success if used incorrectly.

1. Texas Rig

Texas Rig 01
Graphic Illustration of How to Rig a Texas Rig

Why It Works

Since the weight of the Texas rig keeps it on the bottom, your soft plastic bait is able to freely float a short distance above the bottom in heavy cover areas. This is a very desirable strike location for bass fishing and can be an absolute slayer if you give it a wiggle now and then to entice wary fish to come closer.

What Gear to Use

The average bass angler will reach for a medium-heavy action bass fishing rod around 7 feet in length. It allows the bait to be cast a fair distance while also providing ample amounts of power when you need to set the hook quickly.

For the reel, a baitcasting reel is specifically designed for heavier setups and lines and can give you the drag and retrieval speeds you need when catching those large and aggressive bass.

For the bass fishing line, most anglers will go with either a monofilament or fluorocarbon line in the 10-15 pound test range. If you’re bass fishing in areas with a lot of sunken debris, a heavier line will be more resistant to abrasion.

Soft plastic worms are the most popular bait option for a Texas rig. These baits are durable and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Other highly effective baits include soft plastic lizards and craws, as well as jigs.

Texas Rig Setup

To set up a Texas Rig you’ll need the following:

  • Lead or tungsten bullet weights
  • Wide gape/extra wide gape worm hook
  • The soft plastic bait of choice such as a curly-tail worm

How to Rig a Texas Rig

  1. Start by threading the hook point through the center of the tip of the worm and run it in until the straight section of the hook tip meets the curve of the wide gap.
  2. After you have put the hook point in far enough, bring it through and out of the body so that it is perfectly centered. Slide the hook all the way through to the tie on and turn the hook 180 degrees.
  3. After that, it’s as simple as inserting the tip back into the body of the soft plastic. Be sure to put it slightly farther back when pointing the hook point through and then pull the soft plastic back to ensure that it’s straight, and it’s also imperative that you have the hook point centered for the best action and presentation.
  4. When all those steps are complete, pierce the very tip of the hook so it’s just under the plastic, this ensures that it’s weedless and won’t snag, and you can fish it almost anywhere because it is a weedless bait.

How to Fish a Texas Rig

There is very little technique when it comes to bass fishing with a Texas rig, and this fishing rig is also extremely forgiving. Simply cast the fishing rig to your preferred area and give it a bit of time to sink down to the bottom.

Once it’s on the bottom, give it an occasional small twitch to keep the bait wiggling. Before you know it, you’ll see or feel signs of a bite. Quickly set the hook with a sharp upward jerk on the fishing rod and haul in your new catch!

2. Carolina Rig

Carolina Rig 01
Graphic Illustration of How to Rig a Carolina Rig

Why It Works

One of the things I love about the Carolina rig is how it presents your bait to hungry bass nearby. It doesn’t sink rapidly to the bottom like the Texas rig but instead can be used to effectively fish in various areas of the water column near drop offs or in shallow cover.

What Gear to Use

The rod I use with my Carolina rig is a medium-heavy fast action bass fishing rod just over 7 feet in length. A longer fishing rod will make it easier to do a quick flick of the wrist to set a hook in record time, meaning less missed hookups.

For the reel, I highly recommend using a baitcaster reel due to its power and speed when retrieving and casting. You’ll also notice a bit more accuracy when it comes to line distribution which can be very desirable when using larger spools and heavier bass fishing lines.

Most anglers will reach for a heavier 15-pound test fluorocarbon line for their bass fishing rig. Not only is fluorocarbon nearly invisible when it’s in the water, but it also has a lower stretch rating and is relatively resistant to abrasion.

For bait, you’ll be able to use a wide range of different soft plastics including worms, crawfish, lizards, stick bait, and tubes. I personally prefer using a basic worm because it’s easy to rig and provides a nice lifelike wiggle in the water. However, if you prefer using creature baits or a tube, go for it, it’s hard to go wrong with a Carolina.

Carolina Rig Setup

  • Egg sinker or bullet style sinkers – ranging from 1/8oz through to 1/2oz or bigger (use tungsten weights for extra sinking speed in deep water)
  • Swivel
  • Leader Material (Fluorocarbon line – see our piece on the best brands)
  • Glass beads or plastic beads for extra noise to attract attention from bass
  • Hook – an offset worm hook with a wide gape is best such as this Gamakatsu model
  • Soft plastic lure – worm, creature bait, or lizard. A 5-inch creature bait is a popular choice.

How to Rig a Carolina Rig

  1. Start by placing the bullet sinker on your main line, followed by a bead. After placing the bead and sinker, tie on your swivel.
  2. After the swivel has been tied on, it’s time to add your leader. Leader length can vary and is typically anywhere from 18 inches to 3 feet in length. Leader length is a personal preference for some, and if your fishing floating plastics determine how high in the water column it will rise.
  3. Mono or fluoro line is the best choice for the leader material.
  4. The next step is to tie the leader to the swivel after picking your length, and then to tie on your hook, with the last step being your bait.

How to Fish a Carolina Rig

A Carolina rig is most effective when worked across the bottom like the Texas rig. But unlike the Texas rig, a Carolina normally sinks a bit slower giving you a chance to have fish higher in the water column notice your bait and strike at it.

Once your fishing rig hits the bottom, use a slow and steady retrieve to scoot it along the bottom. Every 10 seconds or so, give it a little wiggle or small jerk to help catch the eye of nearby fish. Once you feel the slightest nibble, use a quick upward motion on the fishing rod to set the hook on the bass.

3. Ned Rig

Ned Rig how to graphic horizontal scaled
Graphic Illustration of How to Rig a Ned Rig

Why It Works

The Ned rig works best in shallow water with a small profile bait such as a soft plastic grub, shiner, or leech, and can work well in areas where lily pads are common. It’s a less intimidating-looking fishing rig which makes it great for suspicious or spooked fish as well.

What Gear to Use

The most popular fishing rod to use with a Ned rig is a medium power bass fishing spinning rod around 6 to 7 feet in length. You want a fast action for setting hooks, but also want a soft fishing rod tip to feel the lightest nibble and provide a good amount of lure action.

For a reel to pair with this bass fishing spinning rod, I would suggest a medium gear ratio spinning reel. Look for something around the 6.2:1 ratio which is a good balance of speed and power for big bass.

When it comes to selecting the line, I would suggest going with an 8 to 10-pound test fluorocarbon line. It’s strong, abrasion resistant, nearly invisible in the water, and can be perfect for bass fishing in areas where bass are finicky or shy.

Many anglers will reach for a small plastic tube or creature baits for their Ned rig, but don’t be afraid to try a plastic worm or stick bait instead. The Ned rig is versatile enough to be used with a wide range of different baits and bass fishing lures including a small jig head, tiny lizards, finesse worms, and square bill crankbaits in bright or natural colors.

Ned Rig Setup

To set up a Ned Rig you will need the following:

  • A Ned rig stand up jig 
  • A short stick worm or other bait (such as a craw)

How to Rig a Ned Rig

To tie the Ned Rig all you need to do is thread the bait onto the Ned Rig Jig and you are done! It is that simple.

How to Fish a Ned Rig

The Ned rig is a very straightforward and simple way to fish. Simply cast your fishing rig into your preferred location and let it sink to the bottom. Once it’s on the bottom, use a steady hopping motion to move the bait across the bottom as you slowly drag it back to the boat.

Every few seconds, let the bait sit on the bottom for a short time before making a few more hops. This gives big bass time to notice the bait and makes it look like a shrimp, crawfish, or bait fish picking at detritus in the grass and weeds.

4. Drop Shot Rig

Drop Shot Rig 01
Graphic Illustration of How to Rig a Drop Shot Rig

Why It Works

The Drop Shot rig is a great way to present your bait in a very natural way, without much work on your end. The goal of a Drop Shot is to suspend the bait just above the bottom of the lake or river so it looks more natural to more bass passing by.

What Gear to Use

For the best fishing rod and reel, I would suggest a 6.5 to 7-foot medium-light spinning bass fishing rod with a fast-action rod tip. Pair it with a spinning reel that has a retrieve ratio of 5.2:1 as well as a decent drag system to get the best results with larger bass on your spinning combo.

When it comes to bass fishing lines, both fluorocarbon, and monofilament are perfectly fine to use with a Drop Shot rig. However, a 6-8 pound fluorocarbon main line may be a bit better due to its higher abrasion resistance and near invisibility in the water for timid bass.

The Drop Shot rig can be used with a wide range of bass baits. I have effectively used live minnows, soft plastic baits such as a worm or lizard, small crankbaits, and weighted jig heads to get more fish to strike.

Drop Shot Setup

To make a drop shot rig, you will need the following:

  • Bell Sinker or similar weight
  • Single Hook
  • Soft plastic bait

How to Rig a Drop Shot

  1. Hook faces up. Put loop through hook, leave a long tag line
  2. Tie an overhand knot
  3. Pull the hook through the loop. Wet the line and pull tight.
  4. Tie a sinker on the tag line. Hook faces up.

How to Fish a Drop Shot

Start by casting your line into your preferred location and keep your fishing rod horizontal to the surface of the water. As the fishing rig drops, occasionally bounce your fishing rod up and down to make the rig and your bait swim up and down in the water. After it reaches the bottom, start a slow and steady retrieval before casting it out again. Before long, you will start to catch bass.

5. Wacky Rig

Standard Wacky Rig Horizontal
Graphic Illustration of How to Rig a Wacky Rig

Why It Works

One of the biggest benefits of a Wacky rig for targeting bass fish is that it imitates the natural movement of baitfish in the water. This fishing rig will take your soft plastic bait through the water in an erratic manner, enticing bass to take notice and strike.

What Gear to Use

When using a Wacky rig to catch bass, you should try to go with a light to medium power, fast action 6-foot long spinning fishing rod. This provides a decent amount of power for quickly setting fish hooks, as well as a bit of finesse for feeling nibbles and strikes on the line.

A good reel combo to pair with this rod would be a medium spinning reel. Look for a reel with a high gear ratio for faster retrieves, as well as a solid drag system for setting the fish hook and tiring out the fish.

When it comes to the main line on your bass fishing rigs, you can’t go wrong with a fluorocarbon line due to its higher rate of sinking and near invisibility in the water. Most anglers will go with a 6 to 8-pound test line on their Wacky, while other anglers suggest 8-10 pounds to catch fish.

For bait on your bass fishing rigs, you’re going to see some excellent results with a good soft plastic bait such as a stick bait, tube, or plastic worm. The thin and wiggly soft plastic worm will create an irresistible and unique presentation that bass love.

Wacky Rig Setup

For wacky rigs, you need two things:

  • A small wide gap or wacky rig-specific hooks (Size 1 Gamakatsu Finesse is a good choice)
  • A Senko worm

How to Rig a Wacky Rig

  1. Tie on a small wide gape hook
  2. Take the Senko worm of your choice
  3. Thread the hook through the midpoint of the senko worm (hint: fold the worm in half to find the midpoint)

How to Fish a Wacky Rig

As this is a finesse or lightweight rig, don’t be afraid to use an ultralight rod and ultralight reel when fishing wacky style with these soft plastic baits. A braided line with a fluorocarbon leader also helps you to detect bites quickly.

Catching Bass on These Rigs

Bass fishing rigs help you present multiple styles and types of bait in a realistic and natural manner so bass take notice and are willing to strike.

Whether you have just started bass fishing or are an old pro, a good soft plastic lure, and a rig or two should always be in your tackle box for your next fishing adventure.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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